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Lest we forget

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Paulilles, the future of a memory

The old Nobel dynamite factory, a listed site.

Paulilles listed site
Founded in 1870 by the Swedish engineer, Alfred Nobel, the site of Paulilles was the first dynamite factory in France and mainly produced explosives for the large civil engineering sites (for example, the Batere Mines and the Panama Canal).
Brief visit to the site
with some photos and videos...  

Art and memory, with the Swiss Maternity Hospital at Elne

 Maternity Hospital at Elne

Awash with history since ancient times, this little town in Roussillon has had many cultural and artistic influences. It is even said that Hannibal and his elephants stopped at “Illiberis” (which became Elne) on their way to Rome. The town has preserved one of the most beautiful cloisters in France from its glamorous past. Built during the 12th century, it is part-Romanesque and part-Gothic in architecture.

On the outskirts of the village, the Swiss Maternity Hospital has born witness to some unusual history including the somber events of the "Retirada". Between 1939 and 1944 thousands of Spanish, Jewish and Romany refugees fleeing the Franco regime found refuge here. Among them were many women about to give birth.
An exhibition invites reflection.

More information
Maternité, Château d'En Bardou,
Route de Montescot - Tel. 04 68 95 89 03

Lest we forget: Monuments and sites

Musée Mémorial de Rivesaltes

The Memorial of Rivesaltes

A meeting of destinies, the suffering of internees, solidarity in action.
Do not forget ...
A plain set between salt lakes and mountains a few miles from Perpignan, along the side of the motorway.

How much longer will these barracks, these vestiges, these left-over bits of barbed wire, remain here? Should we clean up these places and erase their memory?
Is it possible to cross this plain without asking questions?
To pretend that though nothing ever happened?
Military camp, transit camp for Spanish refugees, sheltered accommodation under surveillance, regional centre for Jews, German supply depot, internment camp for German prisoners of war and collaborators, camp for Algerians loyal to France and their families, transit centre for military units… A place where the destinies of children, men and women intersect, forced together by the tragic events of 1938 to 1970, the camp at Rivesaltes bears witness to the blackest years of the 20th century.
This site is unusual because of its unique history, its size, its authenticity which still enables one to sense the reality of such a camp.

The Memorial of Rivesaltes

Retirada 1939 2009

La Retirada (the Retreat)

Historians use the word ‘Retirada’, from the word “retreat” in Spanish, to describe the exile of half a million Spanish Republicans at the end of January and beginning of February 1939 following the fall of the Second Spanish Republic and the victory of General Franco. In France, nothing was ready for them. The women and children were housed in accommodation centres. The men were kept together for many weeks on the beaches of Roussillon on the bare sand, obliged to cope with cold, hunger and illness before being interned in different camps around the south of France...

MP3 - Réseau Culturel

Locals whisper in your ear

Listen to see ...

In the Pyrénées Méditerranée region, 4 sound itineraries about ethnological heritage propose the
discovery, with family or friends, of : the life of fishermen, of miners, the stories of the Albères and of
Prats-de-Mollo. Far from being a banal audio guide, this guide depicts Catalonia through music, personal expériences and literary readings at each stage along the trails and pathways. So while discovering the many different aspects of the heritage, you will hear the voices of the fishing net repairers, the fish salters, the cork bark strippers, shepherds, blacksmiths and mule drivers and also hear eye witness accounts of the School at Batère, the Rétirada, the Aïguat, or the much happier évents such as the Bear Festival, the Matança or the festivals in Collioure.